Pros and Cons  of Gene Therapy

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Gene Therapy Pros

Eliminating Adverse Drug Reactions

Drugs are chemicals. These chemicals react in the presence of other chemicals. Furthermore, chemicals interact with each other. As mentioned earlier, DNA is sequences of chemical compounds that are present in every cell of any organism. A drug reaction is the adverse effect of mixing the chemical compounds of the drug with the chemical compounds of DNA. Furthermore, a drug may not have any effect on the DNA chemicals. However, the ideal response would be the positive reaction to the drug treatment ending in a cure.

Doctors have a variety of drugs to choose from when treating their patients. Different drugs react differently in each individual. Some drugs are more effective than others are. In an effort to find the most effective medicine, prescription drugs are administered in a trial and error method. Doctors tell patients on a regular basis, �if you don't feel better in a couple of days, come back and I'll change your medicine.' Knowledge of the genetic structure of the infectious cells would eliminate the problem. Furthermore, knowledge of the genetic composition of the patient would ensure recovery.

treating Mental Disorders

Mental disorders are difficult to diagnose. Many symptoms of different disorders are similar in deportment. Since there is no concrete proof of diagnosis, mental patients and their families often do not accept the diagnosis. Treatments of mental disorders are often trial and error. Gene therapy promises correct diagnosis and treatment.

Other studies are being conducted to discover what genes are used for memory. Introduction of the correct memory gene to correct mental deficiencies will be the equivalent of taking a smart pill.

Suppressing Rejection

Organ Transplant operations are complicated by rejection, the body's natural defense mechanism. These adverse reactions can be suppressed by a gene introduction method. Introduction of the correct gene causes the transplanted organ to produce the right set of proteins or enzymes in its cells. Therefore, the body no longer recognizes the transplant as foreign.

Personalized Medical Treatment

A new technique that has emerged from gene therapy involves a thumb-size bioChip created from DNA and silicon. This bioChip called the GeneChip can scan thousands of genes at once. Within the next 10 years, a medical exam will be a bio-scan to accurately diagnose illnesses and predict future ailments. With this devise, doctors will be able to treat an illness before it occurs. Medical treatment will become tailored to the individual therefore, more accurate and effective. This method will eliminate many hits and miss diagnoses, referrals to specialists, and malpractice lawsuits. Some bioChips are already in use detecting mutated genes responsible for many forms of cancer. Another chip in use detects the development of drug resistance in the HIV virus.

Preventing Birth Defects through Genetics Genes

All human bodies have defective genes. Not all-defective genes are prevalent. Awareness of the defect is only apparent when a person or their family member has the affliction caused by the gene. Defective genetic material is responsible for many illnesses. Among the many illnesses caused by defective genetic material are Cystic fibrosis, hemophilia, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson's disease, and Huntington's Chorea.

Treatment before conception

Gene therapy has the potential to eliminate birth defects and serious illnesses from the human race, thus improving the quality of life. The March of Dimes reports 1 in 100 babies born have a serious genetic defect. The knowledge of genetics is beneficial to people who have birth defects or genetic illnesses, making it impossible to correct the defect before future generations are born.

Before a child is conceived, a newly developed procedure called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) can guarantee a healthy embryo. This method is available to parents who know they have inheritable defective genes. PGD is an examination of a woman's eggs prior to fertilization. The eggs are extracted from the woman and mixed with the husband's sperm. After a short development period, the resulting embryos are tested for disease. If the embryos are disease free, they are transplanted into the woman's womb. Many times the pregnancy fails to take. To counter this risk, all of the embryos are implanted. After the pregnancy advances, the number of fetuses are reduced.

A couple planning a child can go to a clinic and take a genetic test to determine the genetic composition of future offspring. After which, the couple can correct their defective inheritable genetic composition and eliminate undesirable trains in their offspring.

Genetics Genes Disorders Treatments

Rare genetic disorders are scheduled first for gene therapy. One rare genetic disorder called Leach Nyhn Syndrome causes victims to have an impulsive desire for self-mutilation. For instance, victims of this disorder often severely bite their extremities. The source of the problem is a defective gene, injection of the normal gene corrects the defective gene and the disorder is cured. The normal gene has been isolated, cloned, and is ready for use in treatment. Another genetic disorder referred to as PKU causes mental retardation. This disorder is caused by a liver enzyme that is produced by a defective gene. Standard treatment for this disorder is diet and has been successful. However, this form of treatment is very distasteful and stressful on the child and family from the objectionable dietetic treatment.

Gene Therapy Humans Cons:

Science fiction stories of the past have prophesied the consequences of playing with DNA and technology. Books such as Brave New World told of a utopian, totalitarian society created and molded by government. In this book, babies were created in test tubes and conditioned to conform within the structure of the society. Total Recall was a movie that predicted government use of technology to erase and replace people's memory via scanning the brain. The television show Star Trek correctly depicted the future medical advances of today such as diagnosing and treating illnesses via scanning the body with a hand-held device. Below is an explanation of medical terms from the Star Trek archives.

Another more recent movie, Gattaca, predicts a society that uses genetics to determine a person's job, mate, and place in society; denying individual expression and freedom. These Science fictions stories all have one thing in common. They all predict the advanced technologies contributing to the demoralization and desensitizing of society, as well as the loss of individualism and the loss of freedom.

Ethics and Other considerations

Many other ethical problems must be address when considering worldwide acceptance of genetic manipulation. Gene therapy will have a huge impact on government and private industry policies. Insurance companies will use body scans to screen for future illnesses of potential insurance candidates, eliminating risks. This will save insurance companies much money. Other companies will be able to save money. Pre-employment physical exams will screen potential employees. Companies will not have to carry insurance or even hire candidates who have future illnesses. It will become necessary for government to make new laws or amend old laws that include the new discrimination. The downfall of playing with nature is it reveals human nature.

Gene Therapy CONS: Upset the Balance of Nature

There must always be a balance of nature. Upsetting this balance will result in disaster. Longer life will cause larger populations. This could result in a dwindling food and water supply; mass starvation and wars.